Clara Després, a native of Montréal, is a concert pianist and an all-round musician. She brings a rich background of musical and artistic interests to the many concerts and other artistic events in which she takes part. Her own personal paths have led her to develop many modes of artistic expression which illuminate her performances in unique and sometimes unusual ways.
Clara Després studied at the Conservatoire de Montréal, the Université de Montréal and at Concordia University where she received a master’s degree under the guidance of Gregory Chaverdian, and for which she was awarded the Phil Cohen Bursary. She has also specialized in early music, studying harpsichord and organ under the guidance of Christopher Jackson.
Clara Després has been influenced by some great pedagogues and musicians: Claude Labelle, Germain Desbonnet (French composer), Pierre Jasmin, Martin Hugues, Francis Dubé, Étienne Rappe. She has also attended various masterclasses and seminars, e.g. with Monique Deschaussées, as well as attending courses in Vienna and in Belgium. She spent several years in Europe studying and performing in many different venues.
Blessed with a brilliant technique, Clara Després plays a wide variety of virtuoso piano music. Her repertoire includes Bach, Schumann, Rachmaninoff, Debussy and Ravel. She likes to present complete works or a series of pieces by the same composer. She can be heard playing all of J. S. Bach’s Concertos for the piano or his full cycle of keyboard Partitas, Schumann’s Piano Sonatas, or concerts of French music dedicated to Debussy and Ravel or to a particular era. She has also played concerts with repertoire composed exclusively for the left hand. She prefers programs to concentrate on one era or a single composer. She says it allows her to “touch the soul of the composer” and the “essence of our being”. This allows an ambiance to be created which belongs to each masterpiece.
Clara Després has played in Montréal at the Oscar Peterson Concert Hall, the Chapelle Historique du Bon Pasteur, the Chapelle St. Louis, St. Matthias Church, on the “grande orgue” of St. Joseph’s Oratory, Church Immaculée-Conception, Christ Church Cathedral, at Loyola Chapel, the Conseil des Arts de Montréal. She has also been heard at the Musikhochschule in Würzburg, the Royal Conservatory of Vienna, in Radau, Austria, and in the Maene Hall of Brussels.
In 2016 Clara Després released her first recording with the Goldberg Variations of J. S. Bach, which is now available on iTunes. A recording of the complete Bach Partitas will be released very soon.
Clara Després’ creativity and spontaneity is contagious; this is especially evident in the relationship which she so easily develops with her audiences. It gives her great pleasure is to present masterpieces for the piano, to bring them to life in her own original way, and to share this experience with a diversity of listeners. She likes to create original programs around specific themes, and she always searches for a connection between different artistic mediums, marking their historical context, and thus providing a relationship between literature, movement and dance. Whatever might make the music more accessible, this enables her to share it with a wide range of different audience.